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Court extends TRO for John Hay developer

01/31/2012 [ ]

A Baguio City regional trial court has ruled to extend a temporary restraining order it earlier issued to 17 days stopping the government from taking over the establishments and facilities of the developer of Camp John Hay.

In a two-page order dated January 27, Presiding Judge Mona Lisa Tiongson-Tabora of Baguio City RTC, Branch 7, granted the appeal of Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) through lawyer Gilbert Raymund Reyes for the extension of the 72-hour TRO issued by Executive Judge Iluminada Cabato on Jan. 24, 2012 for 17 days starting on Jan. 28 against the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“The Court finds that great and possibly irreparable injury might be suffered by the petitioner if the 72-hour TRO, which expires on Friday, is not extended. Wherefore, as prayed for by the petitioner, the 72-hour TRO issued by Executive Judge Iluminada Cabato on Jan. 24, 2012 is hereby extended for seventeen (17) days starting . . . Jan. 28, 2012,” the judge ordered.

The regional trial court restrained the BCDA from forcible occupation or ejectment of CJHDevCo from itsmanagement of Camp John Hay Golf Club, the Manor Hotel, the Camp John Hay Suites Hotel, its administrative offices, as well as key utilities and facilities, including its water source.

It also enjoined the government agency from taking over the leased property or award of rights in the leased property to a new entity or developer.

“The respondent Bases Conversion Development Authority, its subsidiaries, officials, employees, agents or any other person/entity acting for or in its behalf, are hereby ordered to restrain or desist from committing any act tending to wrest control and/or possession of the property subject of this case or any part thereof including all improvements found therein, from petitioner Camp John Hay Development Corporation and/or persons claiming rights to the leased property or portions thereof from said petitioner, including any act of forcible entry or forceful occupation and/or ejectment of said petitioner or its authorized representatives and/or any award of rights in the subject property to a new entity,” Tabora said.

The lower court has set the CJHDevCo case for hearing on the application for a preliminary injunction on Feb. 6, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.

BCDA did not sent its lawyer to appear before the Court’s summary hearing of the case on Friday despite due notice.

Earlier, CJHDevCo filed a complaint for mandamus seeking to compel the BCDA to comply with its contractual obligations as stipulated under the 2008 “Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement (RMOA), particularly the setting up of the so-called “One-Stop Action Center,” an effective mechanism that would facilitate development of the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).

Last Jan. 11, the CJHDevCo also formally sought for arbitration against BCDA seeking to confirm the validity of its decision to rescind on Jan. 9, 2012 its 2008 “Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement (RMOA) due to BCDA’s alleged “failures and breaches,” including the agency’s non-compliance of its obligation to immediately set up theso-called “One-Stop Action Center.”

In a 42-page complaint filed with the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc., CJHDevCo also asked the Arbitral Tribunal that in the event that amendment of the RMOA is no longer possible, it should order the original lease agreement between CJHDevCo and BCDA as “deemed rescinded,” and directed the agency to pay the John Hay developer actual damages amounting to P14.44 billion and the cost of the suit in the amount of P15 million.

The complaint for arbitration case was filed after CJHDevCo rescinded the RMOA due to BCDA’s continued failure to fulfil its contract.

RMOA refers to the compromise settlement entered into by the BCDA and CJH DevCo on July 1, 2008, where the latter agreed to several substantial concessions, including the assumption of “prior rental obligations” amounting to more than P2.69 billion and current rental of P150 million. In consideration thereof, the BCDA has been mandated to establish an effective mechanism that would facilitate CJH DevCo’s development of the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ), particularly the setting up of the OSAC, and enable it to meet these massive financial obligations.

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